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Cruiser USS Vella Gulf returns home to repair fuel oil leak

The cruiser USS Vella Gulf, part of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, returned to Norfolk, Va., after discovery of a fuel oil leak. Photo by Paul Farley/U.S. Navy
The cruiser USS Vella Gulf, part of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, returned to Norfolk, Va., after discovery of a fuel oil leak. Photo by Paul Farley/U.S. Navy

Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf is returning home a week after deployment to repair a fuel oil leak, the U.S. Navy 2nd Fleet said on Friday.

The ship is expected to return to Norfolk, Va., its homeport, on Friday.

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The leak was discovered while the Ticonderoga-class ship, commissioned in 1993, was operating in heavy seas in the Atlantic Ocean with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Marycate Walsh told USNI News.

The USS Vella Gulf and the aircraft carrier are the only two surface ships in the strike group to engage in two deployments within one year.

The first in the "double pump" assignment was conducted from January to August 2020, and other escort vessels were replaced for the second deployment.

"After technical evaluation, it was determined repairs would need to be made in port. The ship remains in a safe condition and does not require assistance, personnel or materials at this time as it returns to Norfolk," Walsh told Navy Times.

She did not estimate a repair time, but added that the rest of the ships in the strike group are continuing their deployment.

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The Eisenhower strike group deployed with two cruisers, the USS Vella Gulf and the USS Montgomery, as well as destroyers USS Laboon, USS Mitscher, USS Mahan and USS Thomas Hudner.

Personnel aboard the returning ship completed a COVID-19quarantine prior to their departure, and are regarded to be in a COVID-19-free bubble.

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